Google Collaborated With A Notable Researcher To Discuss The Attitudes That Different Age Groups Hold Towards Online Misinformation

Google partnered up with a researcher from MediaWise to gauge how people establish trust across the unruly beast that is the internet.

Alex Mahadevan is more than just a mere researcher: the man is currently MediaWise’s director, which puts him in a prime position to take apart and discuss our current online behaviors and predilections. MediaWise, which is a further off-shoot of the Poynter Institute journalistic school, is a non-profit organization that aims to spread as much awareness about online safety as possible. The organization’s work caters to age groups of all sorts because no one is unexposed to the internet nowadays. Online corners of the world in turn have molded themselves to provide as much damage and harm as possible to say, individual groups. The likes of cyberbullies, literal pedophiles, scammers, phishers, and all other sorts of cybercriminals major or minor (in both stature and criminal status) have managed to populate the online world. It’s important to not only keep a safe eye out but to effectively report and out such instances of illicit or dangerous behavior. MediaWise and groups like it fight the good fight by raising awareness in the form of lectures, campaigns, and the provision of online resources.

At any rate, Google’s work with Mahadevan is mostly derived from research that the man himself conducted with YouGov over online attitudes towards trust and its defined parameters. As Mahadevan himself stresses in his interview with the tech giant, misinformation spreads across the internet like an especially contagious and long-lasting virus (that I’m sure no real-life examples exist of). The YouGov study, which was a survey conducted amongst a whopping 8,500 individuals across all age groups, attempted to map out how different backgrounds respond to similar online situations.

The research’s geographical borders were ultimately limited to respondents from the USA, Brazil, the UK, Germany, India, Nepal, and Japan. The results ultimately stated that a worrying 62% of the population encountered misinformation on a near-daily basis. Roughly 50% of the population from ages 18 to 57 shared the concern that such information could impact their relatives adversely. The research also helps identify that ultimately gen X, millennials, and gen Z are much more confident in their ability to identify misinformation than either baby boomers or the silent generation. Then again, the latter two have had much more limited exposure to online life.
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